[personal profile] ashkitty requested a short Eirias Triad piece in response to the result of the 2011 Wales referendum, and this article in particular provided a gem of an idea, which turned into a rather fluffy ficlet.


Guerrilla Warfare

'Guerrilla warfare?' Will pulled his laptop closer, adjusting the screen to fix the webcamera angle. 'That's the actual term he used?'

'That very turn of phrase, yes.' Bran's smile hovered on the dividing line between amusement and scorn. 'Clearly, I haven't been nearly obnoxious enough in the past thirty-odd years if they think our agenda's in any way clandestine.'

'Perhaps he was misled by your penchant for concealing yourself in hedgerows and leaping out to brandish leaflets at unsuspecting passers-by.'

'Bilingual leaflets, no less. Filled with sedition and double consonants.' Bran's smile became thinner and sharper as some of the amusement faded from his face. 'But it's a dangerous choice of words all the same. No better than I'd expect from that lot, really, but there'll have to be damage control.'

Will paused in the act of reaching for his wine glass. 'You think it's that serious?' he said, frowning.

Bran shook his head. 'Can't afford to treat it otherwise.' The click of keys echoed dimly through Will's laptop speakers. 'If the overall turnout had been a few percentage points higher, I'd be less concerned, but there's no point in giving them the chance to beat us with the legitimacy stick. I'm not going to fight '97 all over again, even on a smaller scale.'

'Quite.' Will buried his nose in his wine for a moment, just long enough to ponder his reply. It was never a good sign when Bran mentioned 1997; that victory had come with a hard price, and Will hated to see even the memory of that painful time cast a shadow over what should be his old friend's moment of triumph. 'I for one doubt that you'll have to,' he said, thoughtful but still casual. 'Then again, you've nothing to lose by being the rational, level-headed one in all this. Your constituents had a good showing, at least.'

The choice of approach had been the right one, if the light that came into Bran's eyes was any indication. 'Vanguard of the Welsh insurrection,' he replied, with offhand, affectionate pride. 'According to certain quarters, that is.'

Will grinned in response. 'I'm sure it comes of knowing that their AM might be lurking out there in the shrubbery even now, leaflets in hand and waiting to pounce.'

'Well, I do know all the best hiding places,' Bran said sagely. 'You can't go with just any old hedgerow and expect measureable results at the polls. But enough of that -- we're nearly ten minutes into this chat and all I've done is talk shop at you the whole time.'

'Honestly, you know I don't mind,' Will said. 'Your shop-talk's far and away more interesting than mine, unless you like hearing me moan about grant-writing or planning committees or English Heritage's most recent scheme to make my job a hundred times harder than it has to be.' He tipped back the last of his wine in a single swallow, as if to wash an unpleasant taste from his mouth. 'I don't even like hearing myself moan about it.'

'We could always try moaning about whatever's been happening on The Archers.'

That made Will snort. 'It might help if either of us listened to it.'

'I do on occasion, just in case they actually mention something about farming,' Bran said. 'It's not Byd Amaeth or Country Focus, but it's part of the portfolio all the same.'

'And the list of amusing personal facts I can trot out about you has a brand-new entry.' Will set his glass aside and held up his hands so Bran could see him miming the process of jotting down something in an invisible notebook. 'Occasionally listens to The Archers; claims it's for his job.' He flicked his wrist, as if closing the notebook. 'Thanks for that -- I've been needing some new material.'

Bran rolled his eyes, but he seemed to be fighting his own desire to grin. 'I live for nothing,' he said, 'if not your continued amusement.'

'And guerrilla warfare,' Will pointed out. 'Or does that not count?'

'Oh, it counts.' Bran held up a finger and waggled it admonishingly. 'But I'm not about to start storming the English hedgerows at the moment. Not even to amuse Will Stanton.'

'Then I'll just have to live in hope,' Will said, and hoped that Bran couldn't hear how wistful the words sounded in his own ears. 'After all, it's early days yet.'


Notes:
As in Reservoirs, Bran is the Assembly Member for Ceredigion and Meirionnydd, and Minister for the Environment and Rural Affairs. Both the constituency and the ministerial office are fictional -- or rather, are a slight alteration of the existing boundaries.

In the actual referendum, the Gwynedd and Ceredigion areas (which would overlap in parts to form Bran's constituency) had among the highest overall voter turnouts (43 percent and 44 percent, respectively) and among the highest 'Yes' votes for further devolution (76 percent and 66 percent, respectively). Adjusted accordingly -- and taking Bran's own campaigning efforts into consideration -- Ceredigion and Meirionnydd would have had around a 48 percent voter turnout and 73 percent 'Yes' vote.

(As for Bran's radio listening habits, Byd Amaeth and Country Focus are Welsh-language and English-language radio programmes on agriculture and rural affairs.)


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